Award-winning chef’s top tips to simply make amazing air fryer meals

Culinary tricks to try at home

If you don’t already own an air fryer, it’s highly likely you’ll know someone that does – or have heard about how revolutionary they can be. Research suggests demand for air fryers rocketed by 3,000% in 2022, with some retailers struggling to keep up.  

Most converts will excitedly tell you how their air fryer costs less to run compared to their oven, or perhaps they’ll have mentioned the health benefits of making the switch. If you don’t own one yet and are wondering which ones are worth your investment, we rounded-up the best air fryers we’ve tested.

Chef Calum Montgomery standing in uniform air fryer fan
Calum Montgomery is chef patron of Edinbane Lodge

But as with any appliance, knowing a few tips and tricks can really elevate the quality of the meals you turn out. 

Who better to turn to on this quest than Calum Montgomery – chef patron of the Isle of Skye’s award-winning AA 4-Rosette Edinbane Lodge, Great British Menu contestant and air fryer fanatic? 

“I use an air fryer all the time at home as it’s quick and easy to use with no fuss,” he says. “You simply turn it on, set it to the temperature and time you want. No waiting about for preheating required. Most importantly, its cheap to run; it’s on and off within 10 minutes.” 

“I use an air fryer all the time at home as it’s quick and easy to use with no fuss”

Montgomery may have been reluctant at first to leave his ‘oven-happy’ ways behind, but after seeing his wife use an air fryer at home, he decided to give it a crack himself. And in his own words, he’s never looked back.  

Whether you’re curious as to what you can actually cook in an air fryer (is it worth the investment, or is the fad just a load of hot air?), or want to try preparing something new with yours, we hope you’re hungry, as Montgomery shares his favourite foodie tips and tricks with us.  

Cooking potatoes and sweet potatoes with spices in an air fryerCredit: Shutterstock / Francisco Zeledon
Air fryers are known for cooking healthier chips

What’s your favourite dish to cook in an air fryer?

Healthy sweet potato fries. They’re a good alternative to fatty, deepfried potato chips.

“I simply cut up some peeled sweet potato into fries, lightly coat them with some rapeseed oil, salt and pepper and then cook them at a low temperature (around 140°C for four minutes, then 180°C for five minutes). My daughter loves them, and they’re much better for her than chips.” 

Which food cooks better in an air fryer than a conventional oven?

When I’m feeling not so healthy, frozen chips work fantastically in our air fryer. I wouldn’t dream of ever putting them in the oven again.

“Any vegetables left over from a big roast dinner also work perfectly through the air fryer too, whether that’s steamed vegetables or roast potatoes from the day before. 

Can an air fryer be used to prepare any meals you might not expect it to?

“Yes, I’ve done a whole cooked breakfast in there beforewith the exception of the beans and the fried egg – but I’m pretty sure you can now get an attachment for that, so, I might need to invest in that too.” 

Does your air fryer improve the quality of a meal you cook regularly?

“If I’m cooking a steak dinner for us at home, I usually seal the steak off in a pan and take it to the temperature I like.

“Then, I rest it in a nice warm place in the kitchen – as you should never eat a steak straight out of the pan. While it’s resting, I’ll use the same pan to make a sauce. 

“When all my garnish is ready, and we are good to plate up, I’ll run the steak through the air fryer on full heat, just for 30 seconds, so it’s nicely flashed.” 

Steak with blue cheese sauce served with asparagus on dark background cooked using an air fryerCredit: Shutterstock / Tatiana Bralnina
Montgomery uses his air fryer to perfect his home-cooked steak dinners

What oil do you use?

“I love to use Scottish rapeseed oil in mine for a unique fresh finish rather than stale, generic vegetable oil.

“You can always mix this up and coat the base with an infused oil, like chilli and garlic or a truffle oil.  

“A little goes a long way with infused oils and they can make your dinners a wee bit more exciting. Replenish the oil as often as you can and keep it clean.” 

How do you keep your air fryer clean?

“It’s very easy to clean compared to a traditional deep fryer, and with the price of vegetable oil skyrocketing, it’s a much cheaper option than replacing the oil every so often. The smell of deep fat frying is unmistakable in a household kitchen too. It’s great not to have that lingering around. 

To save on cleaning and keeping things easy for yourself, use a silicon pot, tray or bowl. You can just lift it out and either give it a quick wash in the sink or pop it in the dishwasher for the next time you need to use it.

“Keep your air fryer well away from any other appliances in the kitchen (as well as the kitchen walls).” 

It’s time to put your air fryer to work

Every meal of the day can be cooked in an air fryer, from the simplest snack to a lavish party spread. And if top chefs are switching from conventional cooking to air frying at home as a cheaper, cleaner and more effective way to prepare food, then we’ll happily join the club.  

Ready to reinvigorate the meals you’re cooking and change the way you eat in a matter of minutes? Then try some of these 15 quick air fryer recipes. And don’t forget to keep your machine clean like Montgomery by using a simple silicone liner.  

Rosanna Spence

Written by Rosanna Spence she/her


Rosanna Spence has been a journalist for nearly 10 years, reporting on a huge array of topics – from microwaves to cocktails, sustainable buildings, the Caribbean islands and beyond. She’s interviewed chefs at the helm of Michelin-starred restaurants and chatted to countless CEOs about their businesses, as well as created travel guides for experienced travellers seeking life-changing adventures. Throughout her career, she has created content for Business Traveller,, Pub & Bar, BRITA, Dine Out and many more leading titles and brands.

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